On Saturday, all teams had to finish the process of dropping from 75 players to 53. Only four days earlier, all teams were permitted to have up to 90 on the roster.
That’s 2,880 to 2,400 to 1,696. From Tuesday to Saturday.
But plenty of those 1,696 shouldn’t get too comfortable. Some guys on the fringes will get a belated visit from the Turk, as their teams find better guys on the waiver wire or through free agency.
Some vested veterans (i.e., players with four or more years of service) will be squeezed in the coming days to take less money, with the possibility of being cut before their presence on the Week One roster essentially makes their full-year salary guaranteed. (Every vested veteran has the option once in his career to collect the balance of his base salary as “termination pay,” if he’s cut during the season.)
With each passing hour, it will become harder for those veterans to find new jobs for as much or more than their current teams were offering on a reduced deal. Still, some will refuse to blink — and they’ll quite likely get cut.
So while the rosters are now at 53, the churning will continue throughout the season. From injuries to ineffectiveness to opportunities to pick a guy’s brain about a former team, plenty of moves will be made moving forward, and plenty of guys who exhaled on Saturday night will be exiting the building soon.